Justin Wilson qualified fifth and finished fifth in Belgium, but a stomach bug and frustration on the race track meant he won’t consider it a weekend to treasure in the memory.
Putting his illness behind him, Wilson made a good start to the race by gaining a place on the opening lap and two more during the pit stops in lap 40. However, differing pit strategies put Bruno Junqueira and Graham Rahal ahead of him.
He successfully passed Rahal but came unstuck trying to overtake Junqueira, locking up while trying to outbrake the Brazilian and flat-spotting both front tyres. Both Rahal and Will Power were able to get past as a result.
Wilson said: “As soon as I got on the brakes both fronts locked up and I knew it wasn’t going to stop. I flat spotted both front tyres, so they locked at the next turn and Graham got through and then Power got by coming out of Turn 4.
“The vibration was terrible and the car was very difficult to handle. From that point on, I just needed to limit the damages and finish the race.”
Junqueira was not surprised the attempt went wrong: “I locked the gears and I went a little bit sideways so Justin had the run at me, and he did the chicane very close to me.
“He was inside, but I had the same opportunity earlier in the race and I knew the guy when he brakes inside doesn’t have much grip, so I backed off and let him keep in front.
“So I was ready to see Justin sliding when he braked so late, and he did slide, and I did the exit on him. Probably he lost a few positions. But as usual he was very aggressive.”
It was, all in all, a frustrating afternoon for Wilson: “The car felt pretty good and the #9/CDW crew gave me great pitstops. But with the different fuel strategies by several teams, it felt like we were taking one step forward and two steps back.”